Cure – Dublin Dance Festival Blog review
Thursday, 16th May 2013
Fearghus Ó Conchúir’s ‘Cure’ @ Project Arts Centre
A man in a plain, grey tracksuit moves about a square of space on the stage demarcated by white tape. He seems confined. At times, his movements hug the floor; at other moments he strikes out towards the corners of his invisible prison. This continues for some minutes until the man finally breaks free of the square, and of his role as performer, to address the audience.
Collaboration is key to Fearghus Ó’Conchúir’s new piece. In the making of it, the choreographer and dancer asked six other artists to each create a short work for him on the theme of ‘cure’. Ó’Conchúir then combined these pieces into an hour-long solo.
But this joint choreographic process is just one part of the collaborative aspect of ‘Cure’. Ó’Conchúir also seeks to involve the audience. The dancer takes a moment before the main section of the performance to give a short, informal speech about where the idea for the work came from, how it was made, and his hopes for what it can achieve.
In the often opaque world of contemporary dance, this warmly familiar gesture has a generosity to it that underlines Ó’Conchúir’s sincerity as a performer and highlights the ego-less nature of the work.
Over the course of the hour, the quality of the movement changes drastically. There are expansive, graceful gestures and gruelling whole-body contortions; moments of humour and moments of poignancy; adroitly-executed technical steps and absurdist physical ripples; movement that tears across the space and quietly-held images.
Throughout, Ó’Conchúir inhabits each gesture and pose completely. At one moment, he channels an obnoxious, pelvis-thrusting figure; at another, he becomes frail and emaciated, an embodiment of suffering. The man himself dissolves behind these represented lives.
A sequence of abstract meditations on the theme of recovery, bound together through the still centre that is Ó’Conchúir’s presence on stage, ‘Cure’ is not about the sum of its parts; rather, it’s about bringing attention to how necessary each of those individual, underlying parts are in the construction of a whole.